ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – L – Life (2015)

Director: Anton Corbijn

Writer: Luke Davies (Screenplay)

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Dane DeHaan, Peter Lucas, Lauren Gallagher, Alessandra Mastronardi, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley

 

Plot: A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Look at the Hollywood Life

 

Story: Life starts as Dennis Stock (Pattinson) enters a party where fresh face actor James Dean (DeHaan) is away from the crowd which grabs the attention of Dennis who believes he can make James a star with a report in Life Magazine.

As Dennis looks to learn more about James he starts to put his career on the line as his boss John Morris (Edgerton) calls off the job unless James starts playing along because his attitude shows him distant from the rest of the Hollywood community as he is waiting to hear if he can get the role in Rebel Without a Cause. The two become friends and Dennis gets to look behind the curtain of the life of James Dean before he became the big star.

 

Thoughts on Life

 

Characters – James Dean is one of the most iconic actors of all time, taken too soon but seeing this we learn about the time before East of Eden was released as we focus on whether the film would make him the star, he comes off very isolated and not ready for the spotlight. Dennis is a young photographer looking to make a name for himself at Life Magazine where he is granted set access unlike many other reporters, he wants to be the man to get the first big story on James before he hits the big time but has his own life problems to deal with.

PerformanceRobert Pattinson and Dane DeHaan are both brilliant in this movie, they show that the two could be giving heavyweight performances for years to come.

StoryA film about Hollywood is not always the most interesting, focusing on a small part of an iconic actors life could also become a stumbling block, we do have mostly conversation about what the two men would like from this one article and see just how humble at times James Dean was. This won’t be for everyone because it does come off slow at times but is still interesting.

BiographyThis small snippet into James Dean’s life before super stardom is interesting because we could see this in many actors now and understand who they really are.

SettingsWe see how James Dean didn’t like the famous settings around a Hollywood stardom and this reflects in everything we have seen for the settings in this movie.

That Moment That Annoyed Me It does feel slow in places.

Final ThoughtsWonderfully acted look at one of the talents Hollywood lost to early.

 

Overall: Must watch for fans of Hollywood stories.

Rating

 

 

Tulip Fever (2017)

Director: Justin Chadwick

Writer: Deborah Moggach, Tom Stoppard (Screenplay) Deborah Moggach (Novel)

Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dane DeHaan, Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger, Tom Hollander, Matthew Morrison, Christoph Waltz

 

Plot: An artist falls for a young married woman while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait during the Tulip mania of 17th century Amsterdam.


Runtime: 1 Hour 45 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Fails to Blossom

 

Story: Tulip Fever starts in 1631 where Amsterdam is obsessed with tulips, we follow Sophia (Vikander) raised in an orphanage to womanhood where the rich Cornelis Sandvoort (Waltz) marries her to make sure he has an heir of his own. The story is told through the memories of Maria (Grainger) the maid of the household.

Cornelis wants to be remember and having trouble with having children he wants to have a painting of the two, he commissions upcoming artist Jan van Loos (DeHaan) for the work. When Sophia and Jan engage in a steamy affair their love blossoms and with the rest of Amsterdam becoming using their tulip obsession we see how the rich just get carried away with their outrageous bidding for the prized bulbs.

 

Thoughts on Tulip Fever

 

Characters – Sophie was raised in an orphanage to womanhood where she gets the chance to leave and marry one of the rich men of Amsterdam. She tries to give him a child, but they are struggling and it isn’t long before her heart belongs to another, an artist. Jan van Loos is the talented young artist commissioned to paint the Sandvoort’s, he soon strikes up a romance with Sophia as they both look to escape this world. Cornelis is the man Sophia marries, he is a kind man, brilliant businessman in the middle of the tulip obsessed Amsterdam. The characters show us just how obsessed the tulips can become desperate to make money from a bulb.

PerformancesThe film has wonderful performances from the whole cast, Alicia Vikander once again shows she is one if not the most talented actresses in the business. Dane DeHaan showed us just why he works better in these roles over a Valerian styled movie. Christoph Waltz continues he entry into a world of artists, where he can play the roles in period dramas. Even diving into the supporting cast, we have talent a plenty, with Jack O’Connell, Holliday Grainger and Judi Dench showing just why people always consider them people to watch.

StoryThe story follows us into the world of Amsterdam where the people are obsessed with the tulips, the different colours, styles and patterns which could make a fortune. We have a secret romance which uses the tulip obsession to try and keep everything a secret, sadly by the end you will fee like we are watching two films which don’t quite add up to the levels you would like. The story about the tulips did grab my attention and I would have loved to have seen more focus on this, while the affair is something we have seen before and done better before.

RomanceThe romantic side of the film comes from the secret affair Sophie is having, while also showing us the love Maria and Willem have through the good and bad moments.

SettingsThe setting created takes us back to the 1600s Amsterdam, nothing feels out of place as we see the hustle and bustle of the busy drink filled streets.


Scene of the Movie –
Tulip discovery.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The romance side is something we have seen before.

Final ThoughtsThis is a film that does struggle to balance the two stories and strangely enough, it is Maria’s story which seems like it should be the main story over the Sophia one. It does have powerful performance, but it doesn’t use their talents well enough.

 

Overall: Solid period drama, showing the tulip obsession.

Rating

 

 

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

Director: Luc Besson

Writer: Luc Besson (Screenplay) Pierre Christin, Jean-Claude Mezleres (Comic Book)

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu

 

Plot: A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Visually Brilliant, Lacking Chemistry

 

Story: Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets starts as we see peaceful world of Mul destroyed setting out a flash out light across the universe. Move forward in time and we meet Major Valerian (DeHaan) and Sergeant Laureline (Delevingne) to elite soldiers that complete the difficult missions.

On their latest mission for Commander Filitt (Owen) the two learn the Alpha station where all races come to communicate in peace live, they learn a secret to what caused the end of Mul and they will need to potential bring down a problem from within.

 

Thoughts on Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

 

Characters – Major Valerian feels like he is meant to be like a Han Solo like space pilot who is trying his hardest to bed his new partner but he is also slick at getting the job done, the ones others wouldn’t. Sergeant Laureline is the partner of Valerian that shows great working relationship but it does feel like she has only just been placed with him, but we don’t know why. Commander Filitt is trying to keep Alpha together from a threat coming from within, this is a typical strict military leader. Bubble is an alien species who can transformer effortless into whatever you desire.

PerformanceThe performances, well this will get interesting. Dane DeHaan does feel slightly miss-cast as he can always give us strange or strong character performances but as a strapping captain is just doesn’t seem to click. Cara Delevingne shows once again she isn’t ready for these leading roles, sure she looks stunning but otherwise not much coming from the delivery. Clive Owen can at least go off and do a string of indie films after this pay day. Rihanna works as the dancer but as soon as emotion is needed she starts to look lost.

StoryThe story is something that does feel like it borrows from a lot of other films, but also has all the potential to be something amazing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t reach the top levels, it does feel like it gets dulled down and wants to be fun but just isn’t, the idea that the International Space Centre has become a beacon of peace across the universe is the highlight of the film showing how it continued to grow with new visitors. The story is easy to follow and you won’t get challenged enough though.

Action/Adventure/Fantasy/Sci-FiThe action is big and huge sci-fi spectacles which is fine to watch but the adventure does feel slightly miss-leading because you feel like it will be across the universe when in truth it is across the mega station. The fantasy world of different alien species is enjoyable to see all the wonderful creations.

SettingsThe settings do look fantastic in places with the different worlds visited but certain other parts all feel like places we have seen before.

Special EffectsThe world created is mostly CGI effects which make the world we visit a great piece of fun.

Scene of the Movie – Quickest Route

That Moment That Annoyed Me –  We lacked subtitles for certain alien conversations.

Final ThoughtsThis is an enjoyable movie, it isn’t ground breaking though, you can sit back and enjoy this film unfold but it isn’t Luc Besson’s best sci-fi film.

 

Overall: Sit back and enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Movie Reviews 101 Midnight Horror – A Cure for Wellness (2017)

Director: Gore Verbinski

Writer: Justin Haythe (Screenplay) Justin Haythe, Gore Verbinski (Story)

Starring: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Ivo Nandi, Adrian Schiller, Celia Imrie

 

Plot: An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa’s treatments are not what they seem.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Extended Mystery Horror Thriller

 

Story: A Cure for Wellness starts young executive Lockhart (DeHaan) is sent to a remote wellness centre in Switzerland to bring the CEO Pembroke (Groener) back to help close a merge in New York. After being involved in a car accident Lockhart finds himself with a broken leg and now a patient of the Wellness Program.

Still searching for Pembroke, Lockhart makes a deal with the director Volmer (Issacs) to stay for a couple of days to finish up the treatment for Pembroke. In this time Lockhart meets a mysterious young woman Hannah (Goth) the only other young patient who he tries to unlock the secrets of the program, which will test his own sanity.

 

Thoughts on A Cure for Wellness

 

Characters/PerformanceLockhart is the driven ambitious young man who has nearly reach the peak of his career at such a young age, he is haunted by his past which does include his father’s suicide and his mother’s death, this leaves him alone but in search for answers once he becomes the latest patient in the program. Volmer is the director of the clinic, he constantly remains calm through any incidents that occur and does have his own motives for the clinic. Hannah is the mysterious young woman also in the clinic, she is the only young patient there and she is Volmer’s main project but we are left to wonder about her past.

Performance wise, Dane DeHaan is good in this leading role and you can clearly see why he is tipped for a great career. Jason Isaacs always makes for a good doctor figure and this is no exception, while Mia Goth continues to make a name for herself in these stranger roles.

StoryThe story is filled with questions which always makes for a good story, I will have to point out that this is a long film nearing the 2 and half hour’s mark and even at that you can see how the pace can be questioned but it doesn’t feel long. We get a new look into the asylum genre which I feel is something we needed but the weakness is that we never hit the full levels of any of the genres involved.

Fantasy/Horror/MysteryThe fantasy elements of this film come from the world we are placed into, this also comes for the sci-fi side of everything too. The horror comes from see what happens within the walls which is quite shocking at times but the best use of the genres comes from the mystery element which keeps us guessing from start to finish as we simply don’t know where it will go.

SettingsWith most of the film taking place in the clinic we find ourselves trapped just like Lockhart in a place which doesn’t have an escape because being there means you don’t want to leave.

Final ThoughtsThis is one long mystery thriller that doesn’t stop you wanting to see where the film will go and then it will leave you shocked by the end.

 

Overall: A rewarding mystery thriller

Rating

 

 

The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

cating card

 

Plot: A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Compelling Story Telling

 

Story: The Place Beyond the Pines starts as motorbike travelling stunt man Luke (Gosling) learns that his fling the year before with Romina (Mendes) has had a child. Luke quits his travelling to be around to help raise his kid even though she has moved on with her life with a new man.

Luke turns to a life of crime robbing banks with his partner Robin (Mendelsohn) as he is trying to build a life with his own little family. This life runs Luke into rookie police officer Avery (Cooper) who is trying to climb the ranks of the force who catches the eyes of a ring of corrupt cops.

The Place Beyond the Pines tells us three stories in the order they unfold over a span of 16 odd years. This really works because when one chapter finishes it roles straight into the next on with fresh characters and then on to the final one. All of these stories are tied together by the events from the previous too. This bad side to this film is that you do get sold on the idea of certain characters when this is a much deeper character piece. This is a very dark story and is one I full believe is worth the watch.

 

Actor Review

 

Ryan Gosling: Luke is a stuntman that travels around America with his act, when he finds out he has a child he wants to start a normal life but the only way he can make money is to turn to crime. As his crime spree continues his risk becomes more apparent along with his violent nature coming to the foreground. Ryan is good in this role being very uneasy throughout but well spoiler he isn’t around as long as he should be.

Bradley Cooper: Avery is the rookie cop that finds himself thrown into the limelight after stopping the criminal at large but is he ready for this new life which is including corrupt cops. Bradley is good in this role but we also only see him for half of the film.

Eva Mendes: Romina is the woman that Luke had a fling with while on tour, she now has a child while moving on with her life, she doesn’t know whether to let Luke back in but is willing to let him get to know his own child. Eva is good in this role where we see her character go through all of the emotions.

Ray Liotta: Deluca is a cop that wants to bring Avery on his ring of corrupt cops always looking to make something for themselves. He has been leading other cops astray for years but will this be the end for him? Ray is always good for a shady character in a film.

Support Cast: The Place Beyond the Pines has a supporting cast that work with both sides of the stories to help push both Luke and Avery in the directions their stories take.

Director Review: Derek CianfranceDerek does give us three very compelling stories that all connect through one moment.

 

Crime: The Place Beyond the Pines gives us a range of different crimes going on with robbery, corruption and drug abuse.

Thriller: The Place Beyond the Pines does keep us on edge as the story unfolds year by year.

Settings: The Place Beyond the Pines makes us feel like we are part of this small neighbourhood where the events have all taken part.
Special Effects
: The Place Beyond the Pines has great effects when needed but is more story driven.

Suggestion: The Place Beyond the Pines is a film I really do think the story telling fans will enjoy but don’t go if you are a fan of just a star in the film. (Try It)

 

Best Part: The stories just work well.

Worst Part: Sold very differently.

 

Believability: No

Chances of Tears: No

Chances of Sequel: No

Post Credits Scene: No

 

Oscar Chances: No

Budget: $15 Million

Runtime: 2 Hours 20 Minutes

Tagline: One moment can change your life.

 

Overall: Brilliant Story telling from start to finish

Ratingcard